Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $43.2 million Navy contract for an autonomous vehicle design.

The Orca will be the Navy’s extra large unmanned undersea vehicle (XLUUV). “This long-range autonomous vehicle will perform a variety of missions, enabled by a reconfigurable payload bay,” according to a Lockheed Martin news release.

“Key attributes include extended vehicle range, autonomy and persistence. Orca will transit to an area of operation; loiter with the ability to periodically establish communications, deploy payloads, and transit home.”

Among the missions that Orca will perform, according to Lockheed Martin’s web site, are ISR, mine countermeasures, indication and warning notification, and anti-submarine warfare training.

The Navy’s Orca contract consists of two phases: a design phase that includes the Lockheed Martin award, and a production phase — which will be competitive between contractors — for up to nine UUVs. Boeing is offering its own XLUUV contender for the contract.

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